Oral History

Frank Bleichman describes a German raid, with assistance from individual Poles, on a group of Jewish partisans

Frank was one of seven children born to a religious Jewish family in Kamionka, in the Lublin district of Poland. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. When deportations of Jews from the Lublin area began in 1942, Frank joined a group of Jewish partisans who roamed the forests in search of weapons and food. After obtaining weapons by posing as Soviet paratroopers, they were able to defend themselves against German raids and take revenge against collaborators. They gradually made connections with Polish and Communist partisan groups, and were liberated by the Soviets in 1944.


At that time, a gun and a million dollars, the gun was worth more than a million dollars, because you could, at least, you could defend yourself with something. We came back, it took us about two weeks, we learned very quickly how to operate, how to fight, you know, and everything else. And then about 10 days later we were raided again from the Germans, and there were three Polish collaborators spearheading the, the raid. They were walking first with baskets and make believe that they looking for mushrooms or things like that in the forest, and looking for partisans. They didn't know that we have firearms. And the Germans were several hundred yards behind them. There would be contact them, then they would go and surround us, or circle us around. That time we had already our guard, armed, and we captured two out of three, one escaped. He was running back and he was screaming, "Jews, Jews!" In the back the Germans opened fire, so we returned fire, and we captured those two, tied them up and we run out, run away. We sneaked through some ravines, the terrain, we knew the area very well. And we luckily, we took those two with us, we escaped. By the time they organized themselves, the Germans, they didn't know what's happening because they didn't expect that somebody going to [be] shooting at them.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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